Fog is the least of Rudolph’s worries this holiday season.
In a new stop-motion holiday special from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios (the team behind Robot Chicken), Santa and his reindeer face off against a Predator who threatens their winter wonderland — and EW has an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the mayhem.
Executive producers Matt Senreich and David Brooks say there were hanging out at Comic-Con with 20th Century Fox’s vice president of worldwide creative strategy, Matt Motschenbacher, when they were presented with the opportunity of turning the legendary property on its head.
“It was really just a random hangout moment,” says Senreich. “I geeked out about the idea because we just loved the property, and I love taking projects and taking these absurd worlds and making them mundane.”
“The piece is really just a fun homage to Predator in a stop-motion technique. So we’re in Santa’s North Pole, and it appears to be this perfect Christmas scene, until a Predator shows up and starts stalking the reindeer,” explains Senreich. “We follow one of the elves around as he’s running for Santa and trying to warn Santa that the Predators are coming.”
“We kind of take the animation in a very Rudolph-style way, except it’s a lot more bloody and gory than you would expect,” adds Brooks.
While time-consuming, Brooks and Senreich say they and their team have always loved the art of stop-motion animation.
“We grew up with a lot of this stuff that we have a nostalgia for a lot of these properties. As far as the animation style, a lot of our animators go back to Rudolph as what inspired them to get into the business,” says Senreich. “And as far as taking a property like Predator and just turning it 90 degrees on its side is what we really like to do, it’s our sense of storytelling.”
Senrich and Brooks — along with the rest of their Stoopid Buddy cohorts — have paid homage to The Walking Dead, Star Wars, and other popular titles, but Predator may be one of their all-time favorites to get to work on.
“I saw [the original] Predator in the theater with my dad. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into at the time. I was a big Arnold Schwarzenegger fan at that moment, and that was at probably one of the tops of his career, and I walked out of that thing glowing because Jesse Ventura was also in it, and because I was a big WWF fan at the time,” says Senrich. “It was just this fun, campy, ultra-violent movie. It was probably one of those where I was a little too young, but for me it was one of those first ones that I saw as I was getting older that stuck with me. I can’t praise the fun of that first one enough.”